Thursday, 16 February 2012
Red Tape? More like a quagmire
Two things that have really really really annoyed me today:
The first was sitting in a meeting about the A14 Haughley Bends, a project that went straight through the middle of the farm, for the second time in 35 years. Nearly 4 years on and we are still trying to come to some agreement about the most basic of losses incurred on the farm - crop loss. It is a pity that we are dealing with a civil servant who doesn't understand how hard it is to get a sugar beet harvester stuck, during on the of the driest winters on record.
Now sugar beet harvesters are not like their more delicate and sensitive cousins, the combine harvester. The combine harvester's job is to harvest cereal crops in the balmy summer and early autumn months, across (usually) dry fields gentling rolling in the wheat for your daily bread. The beet harvester works through the winter months grubbing up root vegetables to turn into sugar and is therefore a more rugged and hardy breed. It is quite difficult to get one stuck. It is really difficult to get a field that is impossible to harvest, because the beet harvester cannot even get up a quarter of the first row.
Now why did the harvester get stuck? It got stuck because the field's land drainage system was cut in half by the new road, with no remedial work done. So the field has no drainage. Here in East Anglia, being predominantly clay, we need proper land drainage systems because "In moist climates, soils may be adequate for cropping with the exception that they become waterlogged for brief periods each year, from snow melt or from heavy rains. Soils that are predominantly clay will pass water very slowly downward, meanwhile plant roots suffocate because the excessive water around the roots eliminates air movement through the soil."
Because we are unable to agree that there has been any drainage issues, due to the government authority involved being unable to produce a drainage expert (Huh? I would suggest Googling Land Drainage East Anglia, personally, but then I am not a civil servant), we are unable to claim for the crop loss arising from the poor drainage, because paying the crop loss would set a precedent that there might be a drainage issue.
The second was hearing about a well-meaning but totally fixated on "body image/dissatisfaction being the only cause of anorexia" therapist so traumatising a patient that the patient did not seek help for her eating disorder for another 8 years. It makes me cry that the inflexibility of the therapist and her inability to see beyond her particular "pet" theory has meant irreparable physical harm and prolonged mental distress. More gestalt could have prevented this. Time for eating disorder clinicians to look beyond their office walls and take in a wider view.